Drogba or Rooney, that is the question!

Off the fence

Drogba or Rooney, that is the question!


Anton McNulty

Decisions, decisions. It’s tough trying to be a manager of a Premier League team with a limited budget in a very competitive environment. Who to buy, who to leave out and the implications of getting your decisions wrong. No wonder Martin O’Neill had enough with all the hassle. It is a stressful environment.
Last weekend, the new season of the Premier League in England got under way and on Saturday morning, as the players and fans prepared for the start of a new season, thousands of want-to-be Jose Mourinho’s were sitting down to their computer to fine tune their team ahead of the 11.30am deadline. Yes the Fantasy Football season was swinging into action.
By kick-off on Saturday afternoon, 1,822,598 people had entered a team onto the official Premier League Fantasy Football league, with a large amount of them coming from Ireland. Since its inception, the fantasy league continues to grow year-on-year with many becoming obsessed with players’ form and upcoming league fixtures.
For any one who does not know anything about the fantasy football league, here is a brief outline. You have €100million to spend on a squad consisting of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards. Players are awarded points for the amount of time they play, goals scored, and assists, but points are also deducted for goals conceded and for getting yellow and red cards.
Picking your team takes a lot of consideration with players form having to be taken into account and what type of player they are. For example when picking midfielders you have to ask yourself which is better - a solid midfielder or one who can bomb forward and get assists and goals but costs that bit extra. Keeping your budget in check has to be considered and that means you will have to pick a few numpties playing for the likes of Wigan and Bolton and pray they have the season of their lives.
For thousands of people - particularly males in their twenties - they will become obsessed with their team and how to maximise their points. After every game, you sit down at your computer and analyse your team, look at the fixture list and decide who is for the chop and who is worth keeping. Loyalty to their favourite team goes out the window, Arsenal fans will be hoping Drogba scores a hat-trick and Frank Lampard continues to score goals from midfield. It’s nothing personal, it is just business.
For the next 37 games, every piece of action will be monitored very closely and every update on the television and radio will be forensically analysed. Who scored, who gave the assist, who has been booked, who is playing, and how many points is that worth.
From my point of view, the opening weekend was a disaster for my team. My gamble on spending big on David Silva and Carlos Tevez did not pay off and my goalie, Tim Howard conceded a clanger. Even at this early stage, it is squeaky bum time.